Mindfulness and Stress Reduction

Tips for Reducing or Controlling Stress

Remember that success will not come from a half hearted effort, nor will it come overnight.  It will take determination, persistence, and time.  Some suggestions may help immediately, but if your stress is chronic, it may require more attention and/or lifestyle changes.  Determine your tolerance level for stress and try to live within these limits.  Learn to accept or change stressful and tense situations whenever possible.

  • Be realistic.  If you feel overwhelmed by some activities, learn to say no.  Eliminate an activity that is not absolutely necessary.  You may be taking on more responsibility that you can or should handle.  If you meet resistance, give reasons why you're making the changes.  Be willing to listen to other's suggestions and be ready to compromise.
  • Shed the "superman/woman" urge.  No one is perfect, so don't expect perfection from yourself or others.  Ask yourself, "What really needs to be done? How much can I do? Is the deadline realistic? What adjustments can I make?"  Don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it.
  • Meditate.  Just 10 to 20 minutes of quiet reflection may bring relief from chronic stress as well as increase your tolerance to it.  Use the time to listen to music, relax, and try to think of pleasant things or nothing at all.
  • Visualize.  Use your imagination and picture how you can manage a stressful situation more successfully.  Whether it's a business presentation or moving to a new place, many people feel visual rehearsals boost self-confidence and enable them to take a more positive approach to a difficult task.
  • Take one thing at a time.  For people under tension or stress, an ordinary workload can sometimes seem unbearable.  The best way to cope with this feeling of being overwhelmed is to take one task at a time.  Pick one urgent task and work on it.  Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one.  The positive feeling of "checking off" tasks is very satisfying.  It will motivate you to keep going.
  • Exercise.  Regular exercise is a popular way to relieve stress. Twenty to thirty minutes of physical activity benefits both the body and the mind.
  • Hobbies.  Take a break from your worries by doing something you enjoy.  Schedule time to indulge your interests.
  • Healthy life style.  Good nutrition makes a difference.  LImit intake of caffeine and alcohol, get adequate rest, exercise, and balance work and play.
  • Share your feelings.  A conversation with a friend lets you know that you are not the only one having a bad day, caring for a sick child, or working in a busy office.  Stay in touch with friends and family.  Let them provide love, support, and guidance.  Don't try to cope alone.
  • Give in occasionally.  Be flexible.  If you find you're meeting constant opposition in either your personal or professional life, rethink your position or strategy.  Arguing only intensifies stressful feelings.  IF you know you are right, stand your ground, but do so calmly and rationally.  Make allowances for other's opinions and be prepared to compromise.  Not only will you reduce your stress, you may find better solutions to your problems.
  • Go easy with criticism.  You may expect too much of yourself and others.  Try not to feel frustrated, let down, disappointed or even "trapped" when another person does not measure up.  Remember, everyone is unique, and has his or her own virtues, shortcomings, and right to develop as an individual.